If you have been sexually assaulted or sexually abused, there are many ways to get information and support. All forms of sexual abuse are traumatic experiences. Even if you were sexually abused a long time ago, it is never too late to get help.

In the immediate aftermath of a sexual assault, you have a lot of choices to consider and decisions to make. Some of these decisions are time sensitive. It is important for you to have information about your rights, options, and available resources so you can make informed choices. You can get this information by contacting a counselor at a rape crisis center, a specialized hotline, or other victim assistance agencies. You have the option to remain anonymous when you access this information.

Immediately After a Sexual Assault

Get support. Reach out to a friend, co-worker, family member, or someone else you trust.  You can also get support from a counselor or an agency that provides specialized services for sexual assault victims.

Preserve all physical evidence, even if you are unsure about whether you want to make a police report. Do not shower, bathe, wash your hands, eat, drink, or brush your teeth before you have a medical examination. Save all of the clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault in a paper (not plastic) bag.

If you want to make a police report, call 911 immediately. The 911 operator will locate the law enforcement agency in the area where the assault occurred and send officers to take your report. The police can assist you in getting specialized medical care and an evidentiary examination. They can also help you preserve other evidence and address any concerns you have related to your personal safety and security.

Get specialized medical care as soon as possible after a sexual assault, even if you do not have any apparent physical injuries, and even if you do not want to make an immediate police report. A medical evaluation is important for your own personal health and well-being.

  • It is recommended that you seek medical care from a specialized sexual assault treatment center or a hospital emergency department (“ER”) that provides medical/evidentiary services for victims 24 hours a day. You should discuss with the medical provider the risks of sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy, as well as any other health concerns you have. If you suspect you may have been drugged, talk with the medical provider about having blood and/or urine samples taken for testing. In many communities, medical/evidentiary examinations are conducted up to 120 hours (5 days) following a sexual assault. Sexual assault examinations should be provided at no cost to victims.
  • You have the right to have a sexual assault examination and have evidence collected and stored even if you do not want to make a police report at the time. Check with the medical provider and the law enforcement jurisdiction in your area about policies related to the storage of sexual assault evidence kits for victims who do not want to consent to release their evidence immediately.

Ongoing Support

Get ongoing support from friends, family members, or other people you trust. Talking about the impacts of the experience, or just being with people you trust who are supportive and understanding, can help you feel less alone with the trauma and support your healing. They can also help you find information and resources you need and accompany you when you seek services.

Talk with a trained counselor or therapist who has specialized knowledge about sexual abuse trauma and knows how to assist victims in dealing with the physical and emotional impacts of the abuse.


Find Resources Near You

To find information about victim assistance resources that are near you, contact RAINN (www.rainn.org), a national hotline that can help you locate and access resources in communities across the country. RAINN is a free, confidential hotline service that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

There are many ways to support a friend, co-worker, or family member who has been sexually abused.